San Francisco AIDS Foundation Encouraged by Governor's Support of AIDS Drug Program

Foundation Cautions that Proposed Cuts to Health Care for Low-Income Residents Will Jeopardize the Most Vulnerable Californians Living with HIV/AIDS
January 12, 2009 -- The San Francisco AIDS Foundation supports Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to fully fund the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in his proposed 2009-10 budget, but is deeply concerned that cuts to Medi-Cal will seriously hinder efforts to fight HIV disease in California.

The governor’s proposed budget aims to close a projected $41.6 billion budget gap through the end of the next fiscal year in June 2010 by raising $14.3 billion in new revenue, cutting spending by $17.4 billion over the next 18 months, and relying on borrowed funds.

Acknowledging the deep budget deficit faced by the state, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation appreciates that the governor recognizes the value of the ADAP program, which provides access to lifesaving treatment for low-income people with HIV.

However, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is troubled by the proposed cuts to Medi-Cal, which provides care to nearly half of the estimated 160,000 Californians living with HIV/AIDS.

“These Medi-Cal reductions will likely lead to poorer health outcomes for the most vulnerable people living with HIV,” said Mark Cloutier, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
The cuts proposed by the governor would deny medical coverage to thousands of Californians by lowering income eligibility, denying services to legal immigrants, and imposing significant new costs on some elderly, blind and disabled Californians.
The proposed budget also will slash dental, optometry, podiatry and psychology services that benefit millions of low-income Californians. Loss of these services will be intensely felt by those living with serious health problems, including HIV/AIDS.
Other programs that would be significantly cut under the governor’s budget include mental health, in-home supportive services, Cal WORKS, SSI/SSP and food assistance – all of critical importance to low-income and disabled Californians.

As the state budget is debated by the legislature over the next several months, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation will work closely with other HIV/AIDS advocates to protect the proposed ADAP funding and to fight to restore the proposed cuts to critical Medi-Cal and other state-funded assistance programs.
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides leadership to prevent new HIV infections. Linking community experience with science, the Foundation develops ground-breaking prevention programs and bold policy initiatives to promote health and create sustainable progress against HIV. Established in 1982, the Foundation refuses to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.

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